Here's a map of eleven must-see buildings from 2nd Street to just past Broad street. The tour is designed to be manageable in about two hours and focuses on essential historic buildings. Whether you're in town for the holiday weekend or you've just never spent much time site-seeing, here's a map to get you started. Look out for more neighborhood walking tours over the next few weeks.Read More
Architectural Walking Tour: Elfreth's Alley to City Hall
The oldest residential street in the nation is a great place to start your journey through Philadelphia architecture. Elfreth's alley was founded in 1702, and all 32 homes on the street were built between 1728 and 1836.
Merchant's Exchange Building
The Merchant's Exchange building, built by William B. Strickland (a very prominent architect at the time) from 1832-1834, is considered to be one of the best examples of the Greek Revival Style, and as one of Strickland's best buildings.
First Bank of the United States
When the First National Bank was completed in 1797, it was hailed as an architectural masterpiece.
Completed in 1895, the Bourse building was the first commodities exchange in the US, and one of the first steel-framed buildings ever constructed It incorporates three types of masonry, and now serves as a food court. Worth going inside to see the grand hall, even if you're not interested in visiting the concessions.
The Curtis Center
The Curtis Publishing Company was one of the most successful publishers in the nation, and was headquartered here in Philly. Though the exterior of the building is worth a look, the reason this building is on the tour is the gigantic glass mural on the inside. The lobby is open to the public from 8am-6pm Monday-Friday.
The Philadelphia History Museum At The Atwater Kent
Now the Philadelphia History Museum, the Atwater Kent is the erstwhile home of the Franklin Institute, was built by John Haviland in the Greek Revival style.
Reading Terminal Market
In 1859, outdoor markets moved indoors, and two markets became the forerunners of the Reading Terminal Market of today. The market still rents space out to vendors, and underwent an interior overhaul last year.
The Wanamaker building, which now houses a Macy's, was one of the first department stores in the nation, and was designed to make shopping a social, entertaining experience. It is also home to the largest operational pipe organ in the world, which is played thrice daily.
Though Willis G. Hale's take-no-prisoners approach to the baroque is perhaps a little unsettling, the Hale building is certainly one of the most recognizable and extravagant vacant buildings in the city. Over the years, the building has housed banks, bathhouses, and most recently, a Valu-Plus, but in recent years, the building has been all but abandoned. Photo by @sbethy
Built in 1928 as a hotel, this Art Deco building was converted to luxury condos in 1998
Philadelphia City Hall
City Hall, perhaps the city's most ornate building, is covered in sculpture, from the image of William Penn up top to the animal likenesses that adorn the entrances to the central courtyard. The massive building was constructed over the course of 30 years, and was considered out of style by the time it was completed. Photo by Laura Kicey